Or should I say Eden? (Part 2 of 3)
In the early 1970s my stepfather decided we would go on a family vacation. We’d been living in Washington State for a year or so, transplanted from Southern California (one year of sunny bliss and beaches, before So. Cal became the “teeming masses” it is today), and before that, northern New Jersey, land of my birth and early years. By this time my family was already growing apart–my older brothers were on their own, one stayed in So. Cal, where he lives to this day, and the other enlisted in the Army–and my older sister was a recent high school graduate.
My stepfather had lived in Washington before, and knew the area somewhat. We drove across the state (a drive I remember not at all) to a place called Sun Cove Resort on Lake Wannacut (Wannacut Lake). I think it was my first encounter with cattle guards. I have no idea how he knew of this remote location (he would be deceased no more than three years later), nor what possessed him to take us there. It was an old fashioned cabin-style resort, with units that had small kitchens and there was even a miniature golf course for us kids. We fished from the resort dock and with one of their motorboats, and went sightseeing–the old Molson Ghost Town was a high point. It was my initial experience with the Okanogan Highlands.
Fast forward to the mid-1980s. I was with my future (ex) husband by then, living in a little house in downtown Issaquah, growing a garden that was, and still is, unmatched in its bounty and ease of growing (creek bottom land). His employer was a local contractor, Jim, who owned property in…the Okanogan Highlands. We were both a little tripped out when we realized we’d both been to this remote lake. We took a weekend trip to stay over there with Jim, just east of Chesaw, and I remember Jim singing the praises of the area, exclaiming how it was “glorious!” That seemed a little over the top, and as we drove and drove, through the magnificent Teanaway valley and over Blewett Pass into the desert country of midstate I wondered at Jim’s exortations. Just when I figured it was just hyperbole, we rounded a curve…turns out he was spot on. Once again I visited the Molson Ghost Town, and soaked in the stunning beauty of the Okanogan Highlands. We went to the Chesaw 4th of July Rodeo (my first rodeo) and spent several days on a ranch just east of town. Glorious was an understatement.
It was over 20 years before I made it back. In 2008, on my statewide scouting trip for relocation properties, I was back. My friend Karen and I were on a road trip of the north central and northeast parts of the state, and I made sure to stop at the Molson Ghost Town museum again on our day drive through the area. The memory of the area’s stunning beauty was not tarnished with age, nor out of proportion due to fish story time-exaggeration. It was just as magnificent as ever. Could I live here? In a minute. By myself? Um….
I recently went back to spend more time and to look at a couple of properties I’d seen for sale. The realtor I’ve been in contact with was unavailable (and evidently had no associates to refer to me?) but it didn’t matter. I had made my plans spur of the moment and was going regardless.
A big issue with going anywhere, any time, is what to do about pet care. The cats are okay in the house for a few days–plenty of water, food and litter boxes and they’re good for at least three days, even four days isn’t a problem. Same for the other critters–turtles, parakeets and the hens outside. So I decided to bring the dogs with me and either camp or…? I was perusing my brochures and tourist booklets from last year and came across an ad for Eden Valley Guest Ranch. I picked up the phone and called, leaving a message and not expecting any availability for the coming weekend. Robin, the proprietor, called me back and said they had openings and the three dogs were welcome, so I booked two nights in one of their cabins.
Concluded in Part 3.